(VitalNews.org) – It has been 50 years since the last US lunar lander was launched. However, on Monday a US lunar lander launched from Florida to make deliveries to NASA and other customers.
Astrobotic Technology’s lander, Peregrine, is one of the very first landers to go on a trip to the moon. It set off on Monday thanks to United Launch Alliance’s brand new rocket, Vulcan, and is expected to land on February 23.
This Pittsburgh company is looking to be the first private business to successfully land on the moon, which is something that only four other countries have been able to successfully do. However, a Houston company has its own lander ready to launch with a more direct path, so whoever makes it to the moon’s surface first is to be determined.
Essentially, NASA gave two different companies millions of dollars to build and run their own lunar landers so that they could transport products and send deliveries. For example, Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander cost them $108 Million. The space agency wants the landers to scope out the moon before astronauts arrive.
The landers will also have a purpose of delivering products. The Peregrine lander has already been stocked with everything from a piece of Mount Everest, toy cars from Mexico, and ashes or DNA from deceased space enthusiasts including Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek.
The last time that the United States went on a mission to the moon was in 1972 when Apollo 17’s Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt became the 11th and 12th men to walk on the lunar surface. Since that time, there has been a pause on the NASA space missions to the moon.
With this being said, the Space Agency’s new program, Artemis, is looking to send astronauts to the moon in the next few years. The first, which may happen before the end of the year, is a lunar fly-around with four astronauts.
We can expect more information as NASA explores the moon again. Lunar landers have become more popular as we’ve seen them from Russia and Japan and will soon see them from SpaceX as well.
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